MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Approximately 220 participants along with a crowd of family and friends showed up for the 2011 youth basketball and cheerleading season opening ceremonies at the IronWorks Gym Sports Courts here Jan. 22.
The participants are signed up and ready to make this year’s youth basketball season exciting.
The cheerleading squads lined up on each side of the main court as they riled up the crowd and cheered on the players.
John Baltazar, the MCCS youth sports coordinator here, introduced the coaches and teams and thanked everyone who came.
“Just so everyone understands, they have put in a tremendous amount of work and time to get us to where we are today,” Baltazar said. “Thank you all.”
The coaches are dedicated volunteers from around the air station who want to pass on their knowledge of the game and the sportsmanship that comes with this great sport.
“It’s all for the kids,” said James A. Berry, Iwakuni Heat head coach.
The Iwakuni Heat is only one of the 19 basketball teams ranging from ages 3 – 15.
“I love working with kids,” said Ebrima Jallow, Iwakuni Heat assistant coach. “Basketball is my favorite sport. I just want to pass on my knowledge about basketball to the kids.”
In order for the children to gain the knowledge of their coaches and beat the other teams, they must practice the basics.
“The kids need to work toward being a team right now, but I don’t expect anything more than their best and to have fun,” Jallow said.
For the Iwakuni Heat, every Monday is a practice day.
“We will add more practices as the season goes on, but for now we’re just going to practice pass and shooting drills and dribbling too,” Jallow said.
The teams got to choose their teams and team names this season instead of the children being assigned to certain teams. The players choosing their team name boosted their moral.
As the season progresses and the children start becoming more like a team, the crowd will see if there are any future Michael Jordans or Kobe Bryants in this group of enthusiastic players.